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Papua New Guinea Birding

1-29 August 1999

Bismarck and Admiralty Islands extension August 22-28

TOUR REPORT

LEADER: Phil Gregory

GROUP MEMBERS: tom Gullick and Simon Albuquerque

Species which were heard but not seen are indicated by the symbol (H).

Species which were not personally recorded by the leader are indicated by the symbol (NL).

This was a private Sicklebill Safaris tour to Papua New Guinea for Tom Gullick and Simon Albuquerque. It was designed to find a good selection of the 400 endemics on the island, home to some of the most spectacular and bizarre birds in the world. We did not target Australian species, or try to get a big list in terms of species recorded, the focus was very much on the endemics. Finding birds in PNG can be a real challenge, with some of the most difficult birding on earth, but we certainly recorded an outstanding selection on this trip, and visited out of the ordinary sites.

We began as ever in Port Moresby, with House Sparrow and Australian Pratincole as good trip ticks at Jackson's Airport. Grey-headed Mannikin was our first endemic en route to the attractive small lakes at the Pacific Adventist University, which gave lovely views of Green Pygmy-Goose, Comb-crested Jacana and Fawn-breasted Bowerbird. Then we made a foray up to the Sogeri plateau, netting a few savanna species for Simon.

Next day saw us heading over to Tari and Ambua Lodge, for what should have been one of the birding highlights of the trip. Unfortunately circumstances conspired against us and we arrived as a tribal war between the Huli and the next clan along was about to erupt. This was not helped by a singularly useless and unhelpful manager at the Lodge, who began by telling us that we had to be in by 1500 each day, without going into the reasons! Relations steadily deteriorated, as we had the curious idea that by paying US$250 per person per night we were entitled to good service and assistance. Wrong! Breakfast at 0530 was too hard, breakfast was at 0630 and he didn't want to upset the staff (what about the customers…..? All my other visits here breakfast early has not been a problem). The Lodge had huge troubles with the generator, so bad that when I plugged in a kettle to make some hot water for coffee, it plunged the whole place into darkness! The kettle was confiscated and getting coffee became a sort of awkward daily ritual, as did having hot water for showers, at which we never succeeded. This was my 12th visit and I have never known the place so badly run, if we had an alternative I would surely use it, but they have a monopoly and know it. You go there for the birds, not the Lodge.

Joseph was excellent as ever and we made a good start on finding our wants, with some nice bonus birds like the rare Yellowish-streaked Honeyeater and both Madarasz's and Modest Tiger-Parrots as well as the customary birds of paradise, which again included Black Sicklebill. The moss-festooned Antarctic beech forests below the Tari Gap, gave us unforgettable sightings of White-winged Robin, Lesser Ground-Robin, and very obliging Lesser Melampitta. Other excellent species included White-breasted Fruit-Dove, Blue-capped Ifrita, female Wattled Ploughbill, male and female Stephanie's Astrapias, and singing males of Superb, King of Saxony and Loria's Bird of Paradise.

Hassles with the Lodge did seriously mar things though, and when we were told that we were all being evacuated at 0400 the next morning it was no great surprise, albeit disappointing. We had been meeting truckloads of painted and armed (shotguns, axes, bows and arrows, spears) warriors heading up over the Tari Gap all day, in great spirits ready to go sort out the group who had been blockading the main highway for several months. The Lodge were right to send us out as things were very volatile and could turn nasty very quickly, though the threats were not against us at all and everyone was very friendly still. We were flown to Mt Hagen on the TNT plane, the two pilots arguing the entire trip, which really made for a reassuring flight! There we were left to our own devices, but luckily I managed to get a message out to Elijah Hon of Paradise Adventure Tours and he met us at the airport. Leaving as we did cost us about 10 species, including Papuan King-Parrot Chestnut Forest Rail, Log-runner, Marbled Honeyeater, Black Pitohui, Torrent-lark, and Blue Bird of Paradise, all very unfortunate but one of those unexpected things that can occur.

We had to improvise and try to pick up some to the high altitude species we had not had time to get at Ambua, so Kumul Lodge and Baiyer River became the alternate venues. Our time at Kumul was unfortunately very limited, a decision that in retrospect we regretted, but getting to long out of bounds Baiyer River was interesting as this used to be a great birding site. The security situation has been sorted out and we passed unscathed on two consecutive days, so maybe this potentially world-class venue will come back on the agenda. It is run-down but still worth a look, and we had bonus Yellow-breasted Bowerbird and Hooded Pitta from there, plus a marvellous Papuan Hanging-Parrot, gorgeous Lesser Bird of Paradise and what was almost certainly a Grass Owl along the road at dawn one morning.

We got back on schedule by flying over to the mid-altitude forests at the copper mining town of Tabubil in Western Province, and this proved rewarding with lovely looks at White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo, Dwarf Koel, Vulturine Parrot, Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot, Red-bellied Pitta, White-rumped Robin, Obscure Berrypecker, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, and Carola's Parotia. The forest by the Dablin Creek track has regrown very well and proved very rewarding. The Ok Ma Road is in a shocking state, 4WD only, but still very good for birds. Here we as usual heard the mysterious and almost unknown Greater Melampitta calling, though getting a view again proved problematic, and a male Magnificent Riflebird gave terrific views, as did Great Cuckoo-Dove. A stop en route to Kiunga gave the local race of Little Ringed Plover, and views of the rare relict Golden-backed Whistler as we tried to dodge the rain.

We had another excellent few days at Kiunga, which is becoming a sort of lowland forest version of Ambua in terms of great birding. It was fairly dry this year, and a quick foray around the airstrip gave us great views of the restricted range endemic White-spotted Mannikin and the scarce and irruptive Nankeen Kestrel from Australia. Samuel, our local guide, showed us around the rich lowland rainforest surrounding Kiunga, including the Boystown road, mercifully drivable again this year. We had lovely views of a stunning male Flame Bowerbird, two adults of the rare Long-billed Cuckoo, good looks at Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot, nice looks at Blue Jewel-babbler and plumed male Greater and Raggiana Birds of Paradise, plus species like Red-collared Parrot, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, the rare and spectacular Vulturine Parrot, the local and uncommon Meyer's Friarbird and the beautiful Golden Cuckoo-shrike.

We spent two nights up at Akame Lodge on the Elevala River, a basic landowner lodge but in a great site where you can watch Yellow-eyed Starlings from the veranda and go to bed listening to the Hook-bills calling. Adult and immature Great-billed Heron were a nice sight on the way in. We were lucky to get wonderful views of Southern Crowned Pigeon, plus the impressive and comical-looking Palm Cockatoo, Large Fig-Parrot, Purple-tailed and Collared Imperial Pigeon, and an excellent dawn performance from the Twelve-wired Birds of Paradise. Common Paradise-Kingfisher performed well, though getting it's rare and almost never seen congener the Little Paradise was even better, with a White-tailed Paradise for good measure all within a few hundred metres. This river trip is certainly a highlight of the tour, despite the bites! A fly past of Fruit -bats added interest too. Another morning we had brief views of a flock of the rare and little known White-bellied Pitohui and a male King Bird of Paradise gave stunning views too.

We then flew over to Lae and explored the Boana and Sankwep roads, seeing some useful species including Dwarf Kingfisher, Edward's Fig-Parrot, Emperor Bird of Paradise, Streak-headed and Grand Mannikins and more Vulturine Parrots, though dipping on Silver-eared Honeyeater was a shame. Madang was beautiful as ever and we worked hard at Kau FR for relatively little, though Ochre-collared Monarch and Black-browed Triller were north-slope species not seen elsewhere on the trip. Bird Island was very nice, with Beach Kingfisher, New Guinea Scrubfowl, Island Monarch, Mangrove Golden Whistler and unexpected Coroneted Fruit-Dove and Green-backed Honeyeater. The ponds at Alexishafen gave us Spotted Whistling-Duck and Grand Mannikin, plus Eurasian Little Grebe at one of its few PNG sites, the duck being particularly pleasing as it's got much harder around POM these days.

Our final mainland days saw us concentrating on the beautiful national park at Varirata, where we had lovely views of the spectacular Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher, the mega-skulking Northern Scrub-robin and Painted Quail-thrush. We had a good view on two separate occasions of the mega-tick Pheasant Pigeon, and saw Eastern (Magnificent) Riflebirds with their bizarre growling calls. The park yielded a few good species each visit, it's a place that definitely repays the time and effort. Other outings there gave us very nice looks at plumed male Raggiana Birds of Paradise in full display, Black-billed Brush-turkey, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-shrike and the lovely but bizarre Wallace's Fairywren.

We said farewell to Simon, and Tom and I headed off for the islands extension, aiming again for as many of the 54 endemics as possible. We began at Walindi, coming off the plane and over to the lovely divers lodge there where we picked up a boat to take us out to Kimbe Island. This was specifically for Nicobar Pigeon and small island special Sclater's Myzomela, and we had very nice views of both plus Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove and Beach Kingfisher. We tried landing, but it is very steep and unstable and too risky, so we stayed on the boat and birded from there.

An outing up into the hills was noteworthy, as we picked up Black Imperial Pigeon, Song Parrot, my first Rufous-faced Thicket-warbler, Lesser Shining Flycatcher and Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot. Next day gave us great looks at Melanesian Scrubfowl, a Black-headed Paradise-Kingfisher, a lovely pair of the very local White-mantled Kingfisher and a superb Pied Cuckoo-Dove. We found a good selection of the Bismarck-Solomon endemics, with excellent species like Pied (Yellowish), Finsch's, Grey and Red-knobbed Imperial-Pigeons, Red-knobbed Fruit-Dove, both White-necked and Violaceous Coucals, Blue-eyed Cockatoo, Black-tailed Monarch and Buff-bellied Mannikin. Two Blue Quail flushed in damp grass along the Walindi road may be the first on New Britain since the mid 1930's!

We then risked a very tight timetable and flew across to Namatanai on New Ireland, spending the afternoon driving up to Kavieng and birding the new site that Chris Eastwood and I found back in June. This worked like a charm despite my worries about the tight timing, and we saw Forbes Mannikin, my first White-naped Lories, New Ireland Myzomela and Red-chinned Lorikeet, plus a very odd swiftlet near Namatanai that is I suspect Mayr's Swiftlet. Next morning we added Hunstein's Mannikin and Paradise Drongo, leaving just 2 of the 6 New Ireland endemics unseen in less than a day birding.

Manus was our final destination, and we scored well here with the help of Aaron, finding the Superb Pitta the first afternoon. We had good views of the Friarbird, Pygmy-Parrot and Monarch next day, and then tried to get out to Tong for the Manus Rufous Fantail. Unfortunately bad weather again made the long crossing inadvisable, so we put into Kowhae Island in torrential rain for a recce and turned up the small island specials Mackinlay's Cuckoo-Dove and Bismarck Black Myzomela as compensation. Our final morning saw us with just a couple of hours to try for the Manus Boobook, and here again we succeeded with amazing daylight views of a perched bird after in began calling long after dawn!

It was a very successful trip, the small size being an added advantage, and we recorded 22 species of bird of paradise, 18 species of kingfisher, 39 species of pigeon, 36 species of parrot and some 40 species of honeyeater! We had not gone after a big list per se as we were targeting endemics, but we still came in at a grand total of 408 (410 if we include the 2 non-leader birds!), some 394 seen plus 14 heard. 230 endemics was a great start for the region. Tom's supplies of cigars held out, and we managed wine every night, whilst working out a compromise on the need to eat…… My thanks to Tom and Simon for the chance to arrange the trip, and for their forbearance and good company in the field.

(B) Denotes a species recorded on the Bismarck and Admiralty Islands extension only

PODICIPEDIDAE

Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae

Eurasian Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis: Alexishafen Ponds gave us our only sightings of this very local species in NG.

FREGATIDAE

Great Frigatebird Fregata minor (B): One off Kimbe.

Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel (B): At least 2 over islands off Manus.

PHALACROCORACIDAE

Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris

Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos

ANHINGIDAE

Australian Darter Anhinga (r.) novaehollandiae: Seen at Kiunga only.

ARDEIDAE

Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana: We saw 3 of this rare bird whilst going along the Elevala, including an immature.

Great White Egret Egretta alba

Pied Heron Egretta picata: Great views at Moitaka SP where we counted some 14 birds.

Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia

Cattle Egret Egretta ibis: The eastern race is now regular in the Port Moresby and Aroa areas, where it was hard to find ten years ago. Some in breeding plumage.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta: A single at the PAU ponds was the only one we saw.

Eastern Reef-Egret Egretta sacra (B): A single dark morph at Lorengau.

Striated Heron (Green-backed Heron) Ardeola striata: Two along the Elevala.

Nankeen (Rufous) Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus: A single adult at Baiyer River.

PANDIONIDAE

Osprey Pandion haliaetus: A single showed beautifully near Walindi.

ACCIPITRIDAE

Crested Hawk (Pacific Baza) Aviceda subcristata: Seen well at Pokili, Kiunga and Tabubil.

Long-tailed Buzzard Henicopernis longicauda: Seen very well at Tabubil and Kiunga.

Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus: Singles near Mt. Hagen and Baiyer River, very local in New Guinea.

Black Kite Milvus migrans: A few around Lae and Mt. Hagen, a strangely local species in PNG.

Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus

Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus: Lovely views, an outstanding bird.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster (B): Good views near Kimbe Island.

Spotted Marsh Harrier (Eastern Marsh or Papuan Harrier) Circus spilonotus: A nice look at singles at Lae, and again near Mt. Hagen and Baiyer River.

Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus: Two sightings, one in the Tari valley and one along the Sankwep Road.

Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus: A single in savanna near Moitaka.

Grey (Variable) Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae: Nicely seen at Hoskins, Kiunga and Tabubil. The form here has now at last been split by some authorities as Accipiter hiogaster, since it differs so much from the Australian species.

Black-mantled Goshawk Accipiter melanochlamys: Good views up at the Gap, at Baiyer River and again at Sankwep Road, Lae.

Grey-headed Goshawk Accipiter poliocephalus: Nice views of a single of this rather uncommon species at Dablin Creek, and 3 near the Sankwep Road.

Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides: Singles near Tari and at Mt. Hagen Kagamuga airport were unexpected.

FALCONIDAE

Brown Falcon Falco berigora: 3 en route to Baiyer River and a single near Lae.

Australian Kestrel  Falco cenchroides: We saw a single of this scarce irruptive winter migrant at Kiunga.

Oriental Hobby Falco severus (B). We found a single of this diminutive and very uncommon hobby, in a coconut plantation on a small island off Lorengau.

Australian Hobby Falco longipennis: Well seen at Kiunga, an Australian winter migrant here.

ANATIDAE

Spotted Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna guttata: A lovely flock of 21 at Alexishafen ponds.

Wandering Whistling Duck Dendrocygna arcuata: 9 at the PAU ponds and 15 at Alexishafen.

Green Pygmy-Goose Nettapus pulchellus: Lovely views of 7 at the PAU, a delightful species.

Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa: A few at the PAU and Moitaka, a single at Alexishafen and a few near Walindi. 

MEGAPODIIDAE

Melanesian Scrubfowl (Volcano Scrubfowl) Megapodius eremita (B): Excellent views in the forest surrounding the breeding colony around the hot springs at Pokili and near Walindi, looking like aberrant swamphens on first glance! We arrived on one of the twice weekly egging days (Tuesdays and Fridays!) and had the amazing spectacle of hundreds of mud caked locals emerging carrying palm leaf bundles of eggs! Tom rescued a chick too, buying it's freedom for K1.

New Guinea Scrubfowl Megapodius affinis: Excellent views of the small dark legged birds on Pig Island off Madang.

Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius freycinet: Good views in forest along the Fly River.

Black-billed Brush-turkey Talegalla fuscirostris : Calling noisily at both Kiunga and Varirata, where we saw a single, but both the nest mounds that we visit at the latter site had been destroyed by feral pigs.

(Wattled Brush-turkey Aepypodius arfakianus): A fresh nest mound of this species near Ambua, but neither sight nor sound of the birds as usual.

PHASIANIDAE

Brown Quail Coturnix australis: One seen by Simon near the Gap, and heard near Moresby.

Blue Quail Coturnix chinensis (B): Two flushed from long grass by a damp meadow on the road to Kulu River, looking very small and dark. This was a Bismarck tick for PG, and the first recent record for the Bismarcks.

RALLIDAE

Red-necked Rail Rallina tricolor (H): Heard near Tabubil.

Buff-banded Rail Rallus philippensis: A nice one near Ambua.

White-browed Crake Porzana cinerea: Lovely views of an adult and imm. at Alexishafen.

Rufous-tailed Bush-hen Amaurornis moluccanus (H//NL) : Noisy around Tabubil, and seen by Tom near Walindi.

Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa: A few at the PAU.

Purple Swamphen (Purple Gallinule) Porphyrio porphyrio: Lovely views of the black backed race (or species) melanotus at Moitaka and the PAU.

JACANIDAE

Comb-crested Jacana Irediparra gallinacea What a great little bird, well seen at the PAU and Alexishafen.

GLAREOLIDAE

Australian Pratincole Stiltia isabella: Four on the tarmac at Port Moresby were a nice find.

CHARADRIIDAE

Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva: A single at Mt. Hagen airport.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius: Splendid birds near Tabubil which showed the pink base to the bill and yellow eye ring very nicely. The subspecies in New Guinea dubius has a very different call compared to Palearctic birds and could well be a split.

SCOLOPACIDAE

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus: Five at Hisiu and a single at Lea-lea.

Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos: Fly River, Walindi and 2 on Kimbe Is.

Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes (B): Two at Walindi.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia (B): A single at Walindi

Turnstone Arenaria interpres (B): Small numbers along the coast between Namatanai and Kavieng.

STERNIDAE

Crested Tern (Greater Crested Tern) Sterna bergii (B): Seen off Hoskins and off Lorengau.

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna senegalensis (B) 14 off Walindi.

Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana (B): A few off Lorengau.

Brown Noddy Anous stolidus (B): 3 off Lorengau.

COLUMBIDAE

Rock Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia: A controversial species! PG still thinks most birds seen in Port Moresby are domestic stock, as are the Tabubil ones. One for your conscience!

Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove (Brown Cuckoo-Dove) Macropygia amboinensis: Widespread.

Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia nigrirostris: Small numbers in the west.

Mackinlay's Cuckoo-dove Macropygia mackinlayi: Lovely views in torrential rain on an island off Lorengau, compensation for abandoning the trip for the Manus Rufous Fantail due to bad weather.

Great Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena reinwardtii: Nice views at Ambua, near Lae and Tabubil of this truly spectacular bird. A hunter did an amazing rendition of its call along the Ok Ma road.

Pied Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena browni (B): Splendid views of this spectacular and vocal endemic near Limbin, a real hard one to find.

Emerald Ground-Dove Chalcophaps indica: A brief view of one in flight at Kau FR was it this time.

Stephan's Ground-Dove Chalcophaps stephani: A single at Baiyer River had blundered into an empty open cage and had to be released, and some in the hills near Kimbe.

Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica (B): Flight views of two adults on Kimbe Island, a great bird.

New Guinea Bronzewing Henicophaps albifrons: Great views of one near Kiunga, a long shot that paid off well as it bulleted out in response to my tape.

Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata: A few around Port Moresby.

White-bibbed Ground-Dove Gallicolumba jobiensis: Nice views of a male of this scarce irruptive at Varirata again.

Cinnamon Ground-Dove Gallicolumba rufigula (H): Heard calling close by along the Elevala, and a new tape species for me, but no views obtained.

Pheasant Pigeon Otidiphaps nobilis: Good views of one at Varirata, a cracking bird and another tough one. Tom gave me a fright when he initially dipped, but luck was with us…….

Southern Crowned Pigeon Goura scheepmakeri: Superb views of this world class bird along the Elevala.

Thick-billed Ground-Pigeon Trugon terrestris (H): Heard near Kiunga, one day we'll get to see it!

Wompoo Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus magnificus: Good views at Kiunga and Varirata.

Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus perlatus: Excellent telescope views on several occasions.

Ornate Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus ornatus: Good views at Baiyer River and near Tabubil.

Orange-fronted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus aurantiifrons: Fair views near Kiunga of this sparse species.

Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus: Good views of a male and female near Tabubil, and again at Varirata.

Beautiful Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pulchellus: Some nice looks at Baiyer River and near Kiunga.

Coroneted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus coronatus: Wonderful views of a male of the north coast race on Pig Island of all places, well found Tom as this is always a tough species.

White-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus rivoli: Nice views of males at Ambua.

Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus iozonus: Kiunga birds have a maroon shoulder bar lacking in the Lae and Madang ones.

Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus solomonensis (B): Good views of this sparse small island specialist on Kimbe Island.

Knob-billed Fruit-Dove (Red-knobbed Fruit-Dove) Ptilinopus insolitus (B): Great views of small numbers of this Bismarck endemic on the Lavege track.

Dwarf Fruit Dove Ptilinopus nana: Nice views of a male near Kiunga where our driver called one in for us, then again at Kau FR. The scarcest of the Ptilinopus in PNG.

White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis: A single flyover Along the Elevala, my second from the Kiunga region of this rather rare species.

Purple-tailed Imperial-Pigeon Ducula rufigaster: Excellent views of two of this sparse species at Akame Lodge, near Kiunga.

Red-knobbed Imperial Pigeon Ducula rubricera (B). Large, spectacular and very vocal, a Bismarck-Solomons endemic that gave great views.

Grey Imperial Pigeon (Island Imperial Pigeon) Ducula pistrinaria (B): Good views near Hoskins, and a maximum of 70 on Kimbe Island.

Finsch's Imperial Pigeon Ducula finschii (B): Great views near Pokili, the rarest of the Bismarck endemic Ducula.

Pinon Imperial Pigeon Ducula pinon: Nice views of both flyovers and perched birds along the

Fly River.

Black Imperial-Pigeon (Bismarck Imperial-Pigeon) Ducula melanochroa (B): Good views of 6 in the hills at Mt. Nakru, and 12 near Limbin, a scarce and elusive species.

Collared Imperial Pigeon Ducula muellerii: Maximum 16 by the Fly River. This is a specialist of riverine forest.

Zoe Imperial Pigeon Ducula zoeae: The common lowland and hill forest Ducula.

Torresian Imperial Pigeon Ducula spilorrhoa (B): Nice views of 20 of the potential split subflavescens at Mt. Nakru.

Papuan Mountain Pigeon Gymnophaps albertisii: Poorly named as its quite widespread in both lowlands and hills as well as the mountains.

PSITTACIDAE

Greater Streaked Lory Chalcopsitta sintillata: Good views at Varirata and Kiunga, a subtle species that needs good views to be appreciated.

Dusky Lory Pseudeos fuscata: Better numbers this year, but still nowhere near as common as in pre-drought times.

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus

Goldie's Lorikeet Trichoglossus goldiei: A flyover flock of 15 along the Ok Ma was fortunate as this is a very sparse species here.

Eastern Black-capped Lory Lorius hypoinochrous: Common and performing well along the Lavege track on New Britain.

Western Black-capped Lory Lorius lory: Noisy and excellent. Good views of the race somu at Kiunga and Tabubil.

White-naped Lory Lorius albinucha (B): We saw two along the Limbin Road, the distinctive red underparts and lack of a white cere visible even in flight. This site was only discovered in June of this year when John Hornbuckle's group followed our initial recce here and found this species, a big range extension up from the far south of the island. This restricted range NI endemic was a life bird for PG.

Streaked Lorikeet Charmosyna multistriata: Five shot by at Dablin Creek. This rare species has become much harder since the drought of 1997.

Josephine's Lorikeet Charmosyna josefinae: Lovely views of two near the Gap at Tari.

Red-flanked Lorikeet Charmosyna placentis: Splendid views on several occasions of feeding birds in flowering trees. Bismarck birds have a different flight call to Western Province birds.

Red-chinned Lorikeet Charmosyna rubrigularis (B): 90 near Limbin, seen very well and always a tough bird to find.

Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou: Excellent views of both phases of this stunning endemic in the Ambua area.

Plum-faced Lorikeet Oreopsittacus arfaki: Nice views at Ambua.

Yellow-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus musschenbroekii: Both this and the next species were seen well at Ambua.

Orange-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus pullicauda: Seen well, though bill colour in dull light remains controversial!

Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus: A star bird, great views along the Fly River with a flock of 6 on one day.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita: Quite common in the west, and sounding quite different to Australian birds.

Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua ophthalmica (B): Common and performing well in the Hoskins-Lavege area.

Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta pusio: Heard at Kau FR but remained stubbornly invisible, and seen in flight on New Britain. One of the world's smallest parrots.

Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta keiensis: Seen well in the Kiunga area, maximum count 16 in a day. A restricted range species.

Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta bruijnii: Seen nicely at Tabubil, the birds being the brighter yellow capped Tabubil form which may be an undescribed subspecies.

Meek's Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta meeki (B): Quite good views of 5 of this endemic on Manus.

Green Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta finschii (B): Two at Utu near Kavieng were a good find, as this species is only found in NI and the Solomons.

Orange-breasted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii: Marvellous views at Kiunga and Tabubil, a real gem.

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diopthalma: Great views of a pair near Kiunga.

Large Fig-Parrot Psittaculirostris desmarestii: Brief views of a bird along the Fly River was it for this year. A hard one to find.

Edward's Fig-Parrot Psittaculirostris edwardsi: Lovely views at Boana, amazingly obliging.

Brehm's Tiger-Parrot Psittacella brehmii: Terrific views on several occasions of a calling bird at the Gap. I fear the two that we thought were Painted on Aug 3 were this species on call…..sori!

Modest Tiger-Parrot Psittacella modesta: Nice views of a female above the Bailey Bridge. A very little known species, the call is quite different to that of Madarasz's. Another tough bird to find.

Madarasz's Tiger-Parrot Psittacella madaraszi: Two calling at neck breaking height during a rainstorm in the lodge grounds.

Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi: Common at Kiunga and Varirata.

Blue-collared Parrot Geoffroyus simplex: The wind chime bird, heard in flight at Tabubil and eventually seen at Sankwep and Varirata. The usual flight dots or speeding over, but sorry Tom!

Song Parrot (Singing Parrot) Geoffroyus heteroclitus (B): Seen in flight near Kimbe, an uncommon Bismarck-Solomon endemic species.

Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus: Splendidly common and very noisy , especially in the Bismarcks.

Vulturine Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus: Lovely views near Kiunga and along the Ok Ma, and again along the Sankwep Road. It gets scarcer every year due to hunting.

Papuan Hanging-Parrot Loriculus aurantiifrons: Seen very well near Baiyer River, a very nice find.

CUCULIDAE

Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus: seen near Tari and an immature at Tabubil

Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis castaneiventris: Seen very nicely at Tabubil.

Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis: Nicely seen at the Tari Gap.

Long-billed Cuckoo Rhamphomantis megarhynchus: Great looks at single adults on two days near Kiunga. Formerly a great rarity that is becoming better known these days.

Gould's or Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Malay Bronze) Chrysococcyx minutillus/russatus (H): Heard at Baiyer River and Varirata.

Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx ruficollis: Excellent views at Ambua again.

White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx meyeri: Three birds were seen well at Tabubil, a very attractive species.

Dwarf Koel Microdynamis parva: Good views of a male along the Ok Ma.

White-crowned Koel Caliechthrus leucolophus: Nice views of one near Tabubil.

Australian Koel Eudynamys (s.) cyanocephala: Females at Kiunga confirmed this dubious

split for us, common along the Elevala where we saw 4 in a day.

Common (Asian) Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus: Strange looking female plumage birds on Bird Island can be assigned here.

Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae: Great views of these weird prehistoric-looking creatures by the Fly River.

Violaceous Coucal Centropus violaceus (B): Lovely views this time in the Lavege area.

Greater Black Coucal Centropus menbeki: Much sonorous booming, and at last a view of this huge lumbering creature clambering about in a thicket beside the Elevala.

Pied Coucal (White-necked Coucal) Centropus ateralbus (B): Quite common in the

Hoskins-Lavege area, and seen on several occasions.

Lesser Black Coucal Centropus bernsteini: Several sightings near Tabubil and at Kiunga.

Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianinus: Common around Port Moresby, where the locals call it "lapun meri" or old woman.

STRIGIDAE

Papuan Boobook Ninox theomacha: Great views at Tabubil, and calling briefly at Ambua, where it is taped-out these days.

New Britain Boobook Ninox odiosa (B/H): Heard along the Kulu River road.

Manus Boobook Ninox meeki (B): Manus, on our final morning session on August 28, we heard the bird calling just after dawn, and then it responded again about 0620. Aaron went to have a look, and located it sat on a branch in mid-stratum, where we got brilliant daylight views of this little known endemic. An incredible finale!

(Grass Owl Tyto longimembris) What was almost certainly this species was flying over open grassland along the road to Baiyer River at dawn on August 7.

PODARGIDAE

Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis (H): Heard by Akame Lodge.

CAPRIMULGIDAE

White-throated Nightjar Eurostopodus mystacalis: A nice flight view by Akame Lodge was unexpected.

Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus: Seen well at Tabubil and near Lae.

HEMIPROCNIDAE

Moustached Tree-Swift Hemiprocne mystacea: Many great views, a trip favourite and what a beautiful bird!.

APODIDAE

Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia vanikorensis

Mountain Swiftlet Collocalia hirundinacea: Above 2000m, we ticked this one.

White-rumped Swiftlet Collocalia spodiopygius (B): Common in lowland New Britain, and on Manus and New Ireland.

Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta: Common in the hills and lowlands, and also on Manus and New Ireland. Many of the Manus birds have white rumps.

? Mayr's Swiftlet Collocalia mayri: Excellent close views of two very curious swiftlets hawking low over the main road north outside Namatanai. Clearly none of the regular species, being larger and much darker. Mayr's Swiftlet (formerly classed as Whitehead's Swift C. whiteheadi with a distinct subspecies leletensis known from a single specimen) seems a distinct possibility.

Papuan Spine-tailed Swift Mearnsia novaeguineae: Quite common in the Kiunga area.

ALCEDINIDAE

Little Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera hydrocharis: Excellent views of this great rarity above Kiunga. We finally learned the distinct call (thanks Bret and Samuel!) and the rest followed.

Common Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea: A nice view along the Fly River.

Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera danae: Good views at Varirata, a great bird

White-tailed (Buff-breasted) Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia: A single along the Fly River was a nice find.

Black-headed Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera nigriceps: Excellent views near Pokili, and the 5th Tanysiptera species for the trip.

Hook-billed Kingfisher Melidora macrorrhina: This strange crepuscular skulker was seen at Akame Lodge.

Rufous-bellied Kookaburra Dacelo gaudichaud: Common and noisy in lowlands and hills.

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii: An excellent bird, seen really well in the POM savannas.

Forest Kingfisher Halcyon macleayii: Lovely views near Varirata.

New Britain Kingfisher (White-mantled K) Halcyon albonotata (B): Wonderful views of a pair of this rather rare species near Pokili.

Collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris (B): Nice views on New Britain.

Sacred Kingfisher Halcyon sancta: A common winter migrant from Australia in the lowlands.

Beach Kingfisher Halcyon saurophaga: Lovely views at Pig Island off Madang, and again on Kimbe Is.

Yellow-billed Kingfisher Halcyon torotoro: Seen very well at Kiunga and Varirata.

Mountain Kingfisher Halcyon megarhyncha (H): Heard near Ambua, a very difficult species to find.

Dwarf Kingfisher (Variable D K) Ceyx lepidus: Wonderful views at Boana and a single at Baiyer River, plus two of the red billed sacerdotis race on New Britain, a potential split.

Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea: Nice views of two near Varirata.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis: Good views near Madang and Kimbe of this very wide-ranging bird.

MEROPIDAE

Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus

CORACIIDAE

Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis: Many migrants at Kiunga and singles near Walindi.

BUCEROTIDAE

Blyth's Hornbill Rhyticeros plicatus: Great views on numerous occasions in the Kiunga area, and a few in New Britain.

PITTIDAE

Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida: Quite nice views at Baiyer River and again at Akame Lodge.

Red-bellied Pitta Pitta erythrogaster: Seen very well along the Ok Ma road and again at Varirata when we were intent on a Quail-thrush and Pheasant Pigeon.

Superb Pitta Pitta superba: Great views again of this rare endemic on Manus, thank you Aaron!

ALAUDIDAE

Singing Bushlark Mirafra javanica: Seen at Lae Nadzab airport.

MOTACILLIDAE

Australian (Richard's) Pipit Anthus (n.) rufulus: Seen at Mendi and near Kumul Lodge, a split from Richard's Pipit.

HIRUNDINIDAE

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica: The common NG swallow.

CAMPEPHAGIDAE

Hooded Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina longicauda: Seen well and very noisy near Ambua.

White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina papuensis: Singles at Baiyer River and near POM. Common on New Ireland and Manus

Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina novaehollandiae: Many migrants near Port Moresby.

Large-billed (Stout-billed) Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina caeruleogrisea: Seen well near Tabubil.

Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina lineata: Seen nicely at Varirata (axillaris), and also at Mt. Nakru (sublineata), both sightings being of the very distinct unbarred NG races which may well be a split.

Boyer's Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina boyeri: Good views at Varirata and Kiunga.

Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris: Seen at Varirata and again on Manus, where quite common. The POM birds give the harsh “der der der” call, and may be a distinct species from the more southerly Australian birds which vocalise very differently

Black-shouldered Cicadabird Coracina incerta: A few seen and heard at Tabubil, where there are no records of the very similar (and frequently confused) Cicadabird.

Grey-headed Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina schisticeps: Common in the Kiunga and Tabubil areas.

Black Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina melaena: A nice male at Baiyer River, never an easy one to find, and 2 at Varirata.

Black-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina montana: Seen well near Ambua.

Golden Cuckoo-Shrike Campochaera sloetii: Nice views in the Kiunga and Tabubil areas.

Black-browed Triller Lalage atrovirens: Seen nicely at Kau FR.

Varied Triller Lalage leucomela

LANIIDAE

Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach: Ambua only, seen well.

TURDIDAE

Pied Chat (Pied Stonechat) Saxicola caprata: Common at Ambua and at Jackson's Airport.

Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus: Nicely seen up at the Gap.

CINCLOSOMATIDAE

Painted Quail-Thrush Cinclosoma ajax: A brief effort to see a calling bird at Varirata bore immediate fruit for us, with point blank views of a male. Atypical!

Blue Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa caerulescens: Seen quite nicely at Kiunga, after lengthy efforts.

Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa castanonota: A glimpse only at Baiyer River, this is normally the least difficult of the jewel-babblers.

Lesser Melampitta Melampitta lugubris: Nice views of one calling near the Tari Gap.

Greater Melampitta Melampitta gigantea (H): One of New Guinea's least known birds but not uncommon around Tabubil, where we heard them calling distantly.

Blue-capped Ifrita Ifrita kowaldi: Seen very well on several occasions at Tari.

POMATOSTOMATIDAE

Rufous Babbler Pomatostomus isidorei: Great views near Kiunga.

SYLVIIDAE

Rufous-faced Thicket-warbler Megalurulus rubiginosus (B): I had little hope, but a sudden loud response to my tape brought one in for brief but close views in forest at Mt Nakru. I had heard them out here before, but this was a lifer sighting of this species at last

Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis: Common above Ambua.

Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis: Two along the Boana Road.

Island Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus poliocephala: Heard near Tari, our evacuation lost us this one.

MALURIDAE

Wallace's Fairywren Sipodotus wallacei: superb views and great tape of two at Varirata., always a very difficult species

Emperor Fairy-Wren Malurus cyanocephalus: Nice views of a male at Kiunga.

White-shouldered Fairy-Wren Malurus alboscapulatus: Seen near Tari, Baiyer River and Boana.

ACANTHIZIDAE

Rusty Mouse-warbler Crateroscelis murina: Variations on a theme of three notes kept us entertained, plus some amazing mimicry, and all of us eventually got to see the singer at Varirata.

Mountain Mouse-warbler Crateroscelis robusta: Brief views at Tari and again at Boana.

? Bicoloured Mouse-warbler Crateroscelis nigrorufa: A call we taped near the Lodge was said by Joseph to be from this species, and it was certainly not one of the usual mouse warbler vocalizations. Another casualty of the tribal war situation.

(Pale-billed Scrubwren Sericornis spilodera (LO): This scarce species was seen by PG only at Baiyer River.)

Large Scrub-Wren Sericornis nouhuysi: Quite common in the Ambua area.

Buff-faced Scrub-Wren Sericornis perspicillatus: Nicely seen at Ambua.

Papuan Scrub-Wren Sericornis papuensis: Common at the Gap.

Grey Gerygone Gerygone cinerea: Excellent views of one at Ambua, a hard species to get.

Yellow-bellied Gerygone Gerygone chrysogaster: Kiunga and Varirata.

Green-backed Gerygone Gerygone chloronotus: The song really is the best thing about it, but we got a nice look eventually at Baiyer River.

Fairy Gerygone Gerygone palpebrosa: Seen at Tabubil, Varirata and on Pig Island.

Large-billed Gerygone Gerygone magnirostris: A nesting pair at Akame Lodge, and seen again on Pig Island.

Brown-breasted Gerygone Gerygone ruficollis: Nice views at Ambua, and a great smoky song.

RHIPIDURIDAE

Sooty Thicket-Fantail Rhipidura threnothorax: Nicely seen along the Ok Ma, a real skulker.

White-bellied Thicket-Fantail Rhipidura leucothorax: Excellent views near Kiunga.

Dimorphic Fantail Rhipidura brachyrhyncha: Both phases seen well at Ambua.

Black Fantail Rhipidura atra: Well seen at Ambua, both males and females.

Chestnut-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hyperythra: A nice view at Varirata with a mixed feeding flock.

Friendly Fantail Rhipidura albolimbata: Common at Ambua

Northern Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris: Common in the hills, but the song varied a lot!

Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys: Nesting on an island off Madang, and seen almost everywhere.

MONARCHIDAE

Black Monarch Monarcha axillaris: Nice views at Ambua and near Tabubil of this curious fantail-mimic.

Island Monarch Monarcha cinerascens: Lovely views on Pig Island off Madang of this small island specialist.

Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis: Nice looks at Varirata.

Black-winged Monarch Monarcha frater: Surprisingly common at Baiyer River, and good views at Varirata.

Spot-winged Monarch Monarcha guttula: Good views at Baiyer River and at Varirata.

Black-tailed Monarch (Bismarck Pied Monarch) Monarcha verticalis (B): Six seen at Mt. Nakru of this rather sparse endemic.

Admiralty Pied Monarch Monarcha infelix (B): Good looks at 2 of this attractive local endemic along the waterfall trail on Manus.

Golden Monarch Monarcha chrysomela: A lovely view of a male near Kiunga and again at Varirata, plus two near Limbin.

Frilled Monarch Arses telescopthalmus: Great views of this curious bird.

Ochre-collared Monarch Arses insularis: Two very unobliging birds at Kau FR.

Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula: A male near Varirata.

Satin Flycatcher Myiagra cyanoleuca (B): A female along the Lavege track was a good find of this sparse migrant here.

Shining Flycatcher Myiagra alecto: Common along the Fly River.

Lesser Shining (Dull) Flycatcher Myiagra hebetior (B): Males seen and more importantly for identification, heard this year at Mt. Nakru.

Yellow-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus flaviventer: Seen at Akame Lodge and at Varirata.

Black-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus nigripectus: Seen well at Ambua, a very attractive bird.

EOPSALTRIIDAE

Torrent Flycatcher Monachella muelleriana: Nicely seen above Tabubil and at Tari, also at Sankwep Road. A great bird.

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher Microeca flavigaster: The Tabubil birds are odd, being very short tailed and bright yellow beneath as compared to the savanna birds at Varirata.

Olive Flycatcher Microeca griseoceps (NL): Tom saw one of this very sparse and unobtrusive species at Varirata.

Canary Flycatcher Microeca papuana: A regular of the Ambua area.

White faced Robin Tregellasia leucops: They showed well at Varirata.

Ashy Robin Poecilodryas albispecularis (H): Heard at Ambua, another casualty of being deported early.

Black-sided Robin Poecilodryas hypoleuca: Another elusive robin, seen well at Baiyer River after a lengthy tape duel.

Black-throated Robin Poecilodryas albonotata: Seen very nicely near Ambua.

Northern Scrub-robin Drymodes superciliaris: Excellent views of this very shy species along the Ok Ma.

Lesser Ground-Robin Amalocichla incerta: Quite a nice view of this mega-skulker at Ambua.

White-winged Robin Peneothello sigillatus: Excellent views near the Gap.

White-rumped Robin Peneothello bimaculatus: Another elusive robin, seen nicely at Dablin Creek.

Blue-grey Robin Peneothello cyanus: Lovely views of this frequently found Ambua resident.

PACHYCEPHALIDAE

Dwarf Whistler Pachycare flavogrisea: Common at Varirata, where they can be hard!

Common Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis (B): A female in the forest along the Lavege track was a good PNG tick, and we saw a male on Manus for good measure.

Mangrove Golden Whistler Pachycephala melanura: Good views of the odd sounding birds on Pig Island off Madang.

Sclater's Whistler Pachycephala soror: Seen well on many occasions at Tari.

Regent Whistler Pachycephala schlegelii: Seen very well at Tari.

Golden-backed Whistler Pachycephala aurea: Good views at Km 120 this again year, two adults showing well after initially being difficult.

Grey Whistler Pachycephala simplex: Seen at Kiunga, near Tabubil, and at Varirata.

Rusty Whistler Pachycephala hyperytha (H): Heard at Dablin Creek near Tabubil.

Brown-backed Whistler Pachycephala modesta: Seen well on several occasions near the lodge at Ambua, a PNG endemic.

Black-headed Whistler Pachycephala monacha: Seen nicely at Tabubil and in the Tari valley.

Rufous (White-bellied) Whistler Pachycephala (rufiventris) leucogaster: Seen well at Varirata. A good potential split from the Rufous Whistler of Australia.

Rufous-naped Whistler Pachycephala rufinucha: Common and performing well at Ambua.

Little Shrike-Thrush Colluricincla megarhyncha: Baiyer River and Varirata.

Grey Shrike-Thrush Colluricincla harmonica: Seen well at Madang.

Variable Pitohui Pitohui kirhocephalus: Good views of several black headed birds in the Tabubil area.

Hooded Pitohui Pitohui dichrous: Frequent at Baiyer River, Tabubil and Varirata.

White-bellied Pitohui Pitohui incertus: Seen nicely along the Fly River above Kiunga, with several parties in evidence. A rare and little known species.

Rusty Pitohui Pitohui ferrugineus: Good looks along the Ok Ma and at Varirata.

Crested Pitohui Pitohui cristatus (H): The amazing song was heard very close by at Tabubil and Varirata, but as usual none wanted to show.

Wattled Ploughbill Eulacestoma nigropectus: This bizarre species was seen near the Lodge, a female type.

NEOSITTIDAE

Varied Sittella Daphoenositta chrysoptera : Neck wrenching views at Ambua, may well be a split from the Australian ones.

DICAEIDAE

Obscure Berrypecker Melanocharis arfakiana: Incredible views on the Dablin Creek trail near Tabubil and others were heard along the Ok Ma road and at Boana. Another of New Guinea's almost mythical birds, amazingly like a flowerpecker in habits.

Black Berrypecker Melanocharis nigra: Nice looks at Baiyer River and Varirata.

Mid-mountain Berrypecker Melanocharis longicauda: Seen briefly at Ambua.

Fan-tailed Berrypecker Melanocharis versteri: Seen very well at Ambua.

Red-crowned Flowerpecker (Papuan Flowerpecker) Dicaeum pectorale: Good views at various sites from Ambua to Varirata.

Bismarck Flowerpecker (Red-banded Flowerpecker) Dicaeum eximium (B): Nice looks in the Lavege/Kimbe area.

Tit Berrypecker Oreocharis arfaki: Good views of this gorgeous looking mutant Great Tit look-alike at Ambua.

Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium (NL): Brief views for lucky Simon at the Tari Gap. A very striking bird that is not always easy to find, another casualty of having to leave early.

NECTARINIIDAE

Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia: Seen beautifully along the Ok Ma road.

Yellow-bellied Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis

ZOSTEROPIDAE

Black-fronted White-eye Zosterops atrifrons: Seen well, the common lowland and hill forest white-eye.

Western Mountain White-eye (Dark-capped White-eye) Zosterops fuscicapillus: Seen nicely in the Tari valley.

New Guinea White-eye Zosterops novaeguineae: Lovely views of singing birds near Kumul Lodge. A nice bonus species.

Black-headed White-eye Zosterops hypoxantha (B): Good views on NI along the Limbin road, and again on Manus.

MELIPHAGIDAE

Long-billed Honeyeater Melilestes megarhynchus: Seen on several occasions, most notably near Tabubil.

Yellow-bellied Longbill Toxorhamphus novaeguineae: Good views at Baiyer River and Kiunga.

Dwarf Honeyeater Oedistoma iliolophus: Common round Baiyer River, Tabubil and Varirata, but hard to see well.

Pygmy Honeyeater Oedistoma pygmaeum: Superlative views at Baiyer River and Kiunga.

Green-backed Honeyeater Glycichaera fallax: Seen well at Dablin Creek, most unexpectedly again on Pig Island and at Varirata, a tricky one.

Red-throated Myzomela Myzomela eques: A brief look at one at Tabubil and another much better one at Varirata, much to Tom's relief!

Ashy Myzomela Myzomela cineracea (B): Quite common in the Hoskins-Lavege area, a distinctive island allospecies of M. eques.

Papuan Black Myzomela Myzomela nigrita: Well seen at Varirata.

Bismarck Black Myzomela Myzomela pammelaena (B): Five in coconut plantations on Kowhae Island off Manus. A small island endemic.

Red Myzomela Myzomela cruentata (B): We were getting worried, but found it commonly in the hills on New Ireland at last. Probably best treated as an allospecies of the mainland Red Myzomela.

Sclater's (Red-bibbed) Myzomela Myzomela sclateri (B): Excellent views of males and females on Kimbe Island after a hectic (and risky) scramble up an impenetrable slope, which proved totally unnecessary as we got them from the boat! A life bird for PG too…….

Mountain Red-headed Myzomela Myzomela adolphinae: Seen well at Varirata as usual.

New Britain Red-headed Myzomela (Black-bellied Myzomela) Myzomela erythromelas (B): Males of this scarce endemic were seen on several occasions at Walindi and in forest between Hoskins and Lavege. The alternative name may also be the longest vernacular species name?

New Ireland (Olive-yellow) Myzomela Myzomela pulchella (B): We found a single along the Limbin Road, a rather rare NI endemic.

Red-collared Myzomela Myzomela rosenbergii: Nicely seen at Ambua.

Spot-breasted Meliphaga Meliphaga mimikae: Nice looks along the Ok Ma and at Varirata, a fairly distinctive species in this amazingly hard group.

Mountain Meliphaga Meliphaga orientalis: Seen well at Dablin Creek.

Scrub White-eared Meliphaga Meliphaga albonotata: The commonest trip Meliphaga. Birds in the hills above Tabubil are odd, with pale yellow at the rear of the ear spots and obvious gape lines.

Mimic Meliphaga Meliphaga analoga: A few seen well at Tabubil and Varirata.

Graceful Meliphaga Meliphaga gracilis: Seen near Tabubil.

Varied Honeyeater Lichenostomus versicolor: Nice views at Madang.

Black-throated Honeyeater Lichenostomus subfrenatus: Common at Ambua this time.

Obscure Honeyeater Lichenostomus obscurus: Seen well along the Ok Ma at Tabubil.

Tawny-breasted Honeyeater Xanthotis flaviventer: A common hill forest species.

White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis: Well seen at Varirata.

Streak-headed Honeyeater Pycnopygius stictocephalus: Seen well at Kiunga and at Sankwep.

Plain Honeyeater Pycnopygius ixoides: Excellent views of one at Baiyer River for Simon and I, then again two at Kiunga, a very seldom recorded species.

Meyer's Friarbird Philemon meyeri: Good views at Kiunga, another very sparse species.

New Guinea Friarbird (Helmeted) Philemon (novaeguineae) buceroides: Now again lumped with Helmeted by Clements, maybe prematurely. Common in the lowlands and hills.

New Britain Friarbird Philemon cockerelli (B): More distinct than I recalled, quite common.

Manus Friarbird Philemon albitorques (B): The Chowka is common and very noisy on Manus, an endemic too.

Rufous-backed Honeyeater Ptiloprora guisei: Good views near the lodge at Ambua, a PNG endemic.

Grey-streaked Honeyeater Ptiloprora perstriata: Quite common at Ambua.

Yellowish-streaked Honeyeater Ptiloprora meekiana: Great work from Joseph got us this rare canopy species near the Lodge, where we saw 2 individuals feeding high in a flowering tree.

Belford's Melidectes Melidectes belfordi: Noisy, ugly and annoyingly common at higher levels at Ambua!

Yellow-browed Melidectes Melidectes rufocrissalis: Regular in the Tari Valley and at the Lodge.

Ornate Melidectes Melidectes ornatus: Good views on the way to Baiyer River, and also at Dablin Creek.

Common Smoky Honeyeater Melipotes fumigatus: Common at Ambua

Rufous-banded Honeyeater Conopophila albogularis: 9 at the PAU on day one.

ESTRILDIDAE

Blue-faced Parrot-Finch Erythrura trichroa( H): Heard at Ambua, another early departure loss.

White-spotted Mannikin Lonchura leucosticta: Tom and Simon got nice views in a grassy patch by the Kiunga airstrip, where we had heard them earlier.

Streak-headed Mannikin Lonchura tristissima: A flock of 12 along the Sankwep Road were a nice sighting.

Grey-headed Mannikin Lonchura caniceps: Our first endemic for the trip near POM.

Hooded Mannikin Lonchura spectabilis: A puzzle. Why are all the birds at Ambua now showing rich buff underparts? Back in the early 90s they were white beneath! Also 2 near Walindi.

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin Lonchura castaneothorax: A few near Nadzab.

Forbes Mannikin Lonchura forbesi (B): 11 near Namatanai were a good find of this sparse New Ireland endemic.

Buff-bellied Mannikin (Bismarck Mannikin) Lonchura melaena (B): We saw14 near Kimbe, a rather sparse endemic.

Hunstein's Mannikin Lonchura hunsteini (B): Nice views of 3 of this localized NI endemic near the airport at Kavieng.

Grand Mannikin Lonchura grandis: : Great views at Boana and Alexishafen ponds.

Mountain Firetail Oreostruthus fuliginosus: Well seen above the Bailey Bridge at Ambua, this species seems to have got much harder to find since the '97 drought.

PLOCEIDAE

House Sparrow Passer domesticus: PNG has only two introduced species on the mainland (Rock Dove the other) plus Indian Myna on Bougainville, the sparrow only colonizing since 1992.

STURNIDAE

Singing Starling Aplonis cantoroides: Port Moresby, Lae and New Britain.

Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica: Common in the lowlands.

Yellow-eyed Starling Aplonis mystacea: Excellent views along the Elevala, a rather rare and local species, maximum 8.

Golden Myna Mino anais. Nice views along the Fly of this spectacular and uncommon species.

Yellow-faced Myna Mino dumontii: Common in the lowlands of the mainland and in the Hoskins-Lavege area.

Long-tailed Myna Mino kreffti (B): Some authors now give the New Britain kreffti full specific status under the name Island or Long-tailed Myna. It differs greatly in calls and plumage from Yellow-faced.

ORIOLIDAE

Brown Oriole Oriolus szalayi: The amazing friarbird mimic, or is it vice versa?

Figbird Sphecotheres viridis: Several in the Port Moresby area, very local in PNG.

DICRURIDAE

Mountain Drongo Chaetorhynchus papuensis: A brief view of one at Varirata. A seldom seen bird.

Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentotus: New Britain birds call differently to mainland birds, some of which also have different calls to those in Australia. More study needed here!

Paradise Drongo Dicrurus megarhynchus (B): Excellent views of 4 of this large spectacular and noisy endemic drongo at Utu near Kavieng, including one the local lads had trapped.

ARTAMIDAE

White-breasted Wood-swallow Artamus leucorhynchus

Great Wood-swallow Artamus maximus: A few around Tabubil, and lovely views at Ambua.

Bismarck (White-backed) Wood-swallow Artamus insignis (B): A single along the Limbin Road gave excellent views, a great bird. A very sparse Bismarck endemic.

CRACTICIDAE

Hooded Butcherbird Cracticus cassicus

Black-backed Butcherbird Cracticus mentalis: A regular in the Moresby area.

Black Butcherbird Cracticus quoyi: Seen well at Tabubil, where the vocalizations are amazingly distinct to the Australian and Port Moresby birds.

Lowland Peltops Peltops blainvillii: Seen nicely near Kiunga, an uncommon bird.

Mountain Peltops Peltops montanus: Great views at Tabubil and Tari.

PTILONORHYNCHIDAE

White-eared Catbird Ailuroedus buccoides: A good flight view of one along the Ok Ma road, calling noisily earlier.

Spotted Catbird Ailuroedus melanotis (H): Heard quite often but it is incredibly shy and skulking here. One was calling in the same area as the White-eared Catbird along the Ok Ma.

Archbold's Bowerbird Archboldia papuensis: Two seen well near the Tari Gap.

Flame Bowerbird Sericulus aureus: Wonderful views of a male of this incredible species late one morning (0900) at Kiunga. I had thought we were going to dip as we lost time changing vehicles due to the slippery road conditions.

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera cerviniventris: Good views in the lowlands around Port Moresby.

Yellow-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera lauterbachi: Excellent views near Baiyer River, maximum 12 in one day. A species that is not usually on the trip circuit.

PARADISAEIDAE

Glossy-mantled Manucode Manucodia atra: Seen and heard well along the Fly River, where very common.

Crinkle-collared Manucode Manucodia chalybeata: Great views near Tabubil, and again along the Sankwep Road.

Trumpet Manucode Manucodia keraudrenii: Two in the forest near Kiunga gave good views.

Short-tailed Paradigalla Paradigalla brevicauda: Good views at a fruiting tree near the Gap, a really amazing and strange bird.

Magnificent Riflebird Ptiloris magnificus: Good views of a male and a female along the Ok Ma road.

Eastern Riflebird Ptiloris (m.) intercedens: Several good look at males and a female at Varirata. This form is a recent split by some authorities from the previous species. Its call is very different, growls v whistles.

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise Seleucidis melanoleuca: Amazingly good and prolonged views of a displaying males by the Fly River near Kiunga. Also one on Samuel's bus!

Loria's Bird of Paradise Cnemophilus loriae: Close views of males and females at Ambua.

Brown Sicklebill Epimachus meyeri: Excellent views of males and females at the Gap, the pale blue eye being very obvious when seen well.

Black Sicklebill Epimachus fastuosus: The largest of the BoP's, a rather rare bird that is extirpated from the more accessible areas. A calling male giving nice scope views below the Lodge.

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia Astrapia mayeri: Wonderful views of many at Ambua, the males being one of the most bizarre and spectacular of birds. Another restricted range PNG endemic.

Stephanie's Astrapia Astrapia stephaniae: Easily found and seen well below the Bailey Bridge at Tari, including a superb male. A PNG endemic too.

Superb Bird of Paradise Lophorina superba: A male at the Lodge, a fine bird.

Carola's Parotia Parotia carolae: Fine views of males, females and immatures at Dablin Creek this time. An elusive fruit nomad.

Lawes Parotia Parotia lawesii: A female plumaged bird below the Lodge, but no chance to go to the dance ground this time due to tribal warfare.

King of Saxony Bird of Paradise Pteridophora alberti: Fairly common in the Tari Gap area, and showing well on numerous occasions (including several superb males). The song is unbelievable, like a Corn Bunting crossed with a deep fat fryer!

King Bird of Paradise Cicinnurus regius: Wonderful views of a male high in a tree above Kiunga.

Magnificent Bird of Paradise Cicinnurus magnificus: Nice views near Tabubil, where it is getting harder to find due to clearance. Also seen along the Sankwep Road.

Raggiana Bird of Paradise Paradisaea raggiana: Some nice males near Kiunga, quite common along the Sankwep Road, also up at Boana where it seems to be replacing the Emperor BP, and finally some brilliant obliging males at Varirata.

Greater Bird of Paradise Paradisaea apoda: Nice views of several males in fine plumage in a display tree near Kiunga.

Lesser Bird of Paradise Paradisaea minor: Lovely views of males and the distinctive females at a lek at Baiyer River.

Emperor Bird of Paradise Paradisaea guilielmi: The well-known site at Boana has been degraded by tree clearing, and is being invaded by Raggianas which are now common there. We saw just a couple of Emperor's, including a fine male.

CORVIDAE

Grey Crow Corvus tristis: A few along the Fly River and in the Tabubil area.

Torresian Crow Corvus orru: The birds in New Britain were convincingly different from the mainland birds, both in jizz and voice, so there are good grounds for splitting them off as the Island or Bismarck Crow Corvus insularis. They are at least as distinct as the various corvid species in Australia.

MAMMALS

Great Flying-fox Pteropus neohibernicus: Nice sightings of this huge fruit-bat on New Britain.

Bare-backed Fly-fox Dobsonia moluccensis: Many above the Fly River.

Flying Fox Pteropus sp: Hundreds in the Port Moresby area. Similar huge flying foxes along the Fly River near Kiunga and in the Hoskins-Lavege area, with a distinct golden collar on some.

BUTTERFLIES

Ornithoptera priamus poseidon: Excellent birdwings at Hoskins, Kiunga and Varirata.

Papilio ulysses: The spectacular blue morpho-like swallowtail, common in lowland forests.

© Phil Gregory, Cassowary House, Blackmountain Road, Kuranda 4872, Queensland, Australia. December 1999


Itinerary

Sunday August 1 1999: TG and SA Arrive Jackson's Airport: PAU / Sogeri Road.

August 2: Depart POM/ Mendi/ Tari/ Ambua Lodge

Aug. 3: Tari Gap and the Lodge area

Aug. 4: Trail above Bailey Bridge and waterfall trails

Aug. 5: Deportation to Mt. Hagen. Kumul Lodge and Murmur Pass/ Tambul Road area.

Aug. 6: Baiyer River sanctuary.

Aug. 7: Baiyer River sanctuary.

Aug. 8: Hagen to Tabubil: Ok Menga, Dablin Creek and Cloudlands areas

Aug 9: Dablin Creek, Ok Menga and Ok Ma.

Aug. 10: Ok Ma Road

Aug. 11: Ok Ma road/ Km 120/ travel to Kiunga.

Aug. 12: Elevala River and Akame Lodge.

Aug. 13: Akame Lodge

Aug. 14: Akame Lodge/ Kiunga/ Km 17

Aug. 15: Boystown Road/ airstrip/ Drimgas Road.

Aug. 16: Km 17/ POM/ Lae

Aug 17: Boana Road/ Sankwep (Mussom) Road.

Aug 18: Lae-Madang: Alexishafen Ponds, Pig Island/ Kau FR

Aug. 19: Kau FR/ POM

Aug 20: Varirata NP

Aug. 21: Varirata NP. Simon departs to Singapore pm.

Aug 22: Islands extension: Walindi and Kimbe Island, Kulu River Road.

Aug. 23 Mt Nakru

Aug. 24: Walindi/ Kulu River Road/ Lavege

Aug.25: Hoskins/Rabaul/Namatanai/ Limbin Road/Kavieng

Aug. 26 : Kavieng/ Utu/ Manus: Rossun Road area

Aug. 27 Manus: Rossun Road/ Kowhae Island after abandoning Tong trip.

Aug. 28: Rossun Road and depart to POM.

Sunday Aug. 29: POM: Cairns or Singapore.


Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall